Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 23: French Prisoners

New London, Connecticut, Friday, October 23, 1778
Wednesday two Ships with Flags arrived here from New-York; they...brought between 4 and 500 French Prisoners, to be exchanged for British Prisoners taken by Count d’Estaing’s Squadron.  They are in a very emaciated and sickly Condition.
The New-London Gazette, 23 October 1778


The British military occupied New York City from 1776 to the end of the war in 1783.  Conditions for prisoners detained by the British in the occupied city were notorious for most of the war.  Consider, for instance, this letter reportedly from a captive on the prison ship Jersey. 

From 1778 to 1780, French Admiral Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, Comte d'Estaing led a French fleet in support of the American struggle for independence from Great Britain.

Newspapers around the country reprinted the October 23 account of the sick and hungry French prisoners released by the British.  For instance,
Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Packet published the story on 10 November 1778.  Please consult the database Early American Newspapers, Series I for a reasonable yearly fee from the Philadelphia Free Library.   
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